Just hours after former Defense Minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer (Labor) passed away Sunday night, former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, architect of the disastrous Oslo Accords, ripped into his former rival, calling him “aggressive, predatory,” and “criminal.”
Speaking to Channel 1 Sunday night, Beilin sparked controversy when he offered a highly critical description of the former Labor leader, describing him as a “predatory” politician.
“In my opinion he was the aggressive, predatory politician. He was [the kind of] politician who should not lead a party like the Labor Party… and certainly not as Defense Minister.”
“He was the kind of [politician] that makes people say they don’t like politics,” added Beilin. “He had no ideological spine”.
Despite criticism of his statement, on Monday Beilin expressed no remorse for his comments or their timing, saying in an Army Radio interview that he had nothing to apologize for.
“What should I apologize for? His criminality? His predatory [behavior]? I guess politeness and etiquette aren’t my strong suit.”
Born in Iraq in 1936, Ben-Eliezer immigrated to Israel on his as a child. He served for 30 years in the IDF, rising to the rank of Brigadier General, before turning to politics.
During his nearly three decades in politics, Ben-Eliezer served as Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Minister of Housing, and other prominent cabinet positions.
In 2015 Ben-Eliezer was indicted for bribery, money-laundering, tax evasion, and fraud following the discovery of a secret safe-deposit box filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in undeclared funds.
Investigators suspect the former Defense Minister had received large sums of money from businessmen, including Avraham Nanikashvili, in exchange for easements at the port in Ashdod. Ben-Eliezer withdrew his candidacy for the Israeli presidency as a result.